or pitcher (q.v.) accompanying a wash-hand basin (q.v.). It is stated as a description of Elisha (2Ki 3:11) that he "poured water on the hands
of Elijah." This was the act of an attendant or disciple; and it was so much his established duty, that the mere mention of it sufficed to indicate the relation in which Elisha had stood to Elijah. It is also an indication that the Hebrews were accustomed to wash their hands in the manner which is now universal in the East, and which, whatever may be thought of its convenience, is unquestionably more refreshing and cleanly than washing in the water as it stands in a basin, which is a process regarded by the Orientals with great dislike. The hands are Therefore held over a basin, the use of which is only to receive the water which has been poured upon the hands, sometimes of several persons successively, from the jug or ewer held above them (Lane, Modern Egyptians, 1:212). A servant or some other person approaches with the ewer in his right hand and the basin in his left; and when the hands have been placed in proper position over the basin, which he continues to hold, lets fall a stream of water upon them from the ewer, suspending it occasionally to allow the hands to be soaped or rubbed together. No towel is offered, as every one dries his hands in his handkerchief, or however else he pleases. The water is usually tepid, and always so after a meal, in order to clear the grease contracted by eating with the hands. In the East, the basin, which, as well as the ewer, is usually of tinned copper, has commonly a sort of cover, rising in the middle and sunk into the basin at the margin, which, being pierced with holes, allows the water to pass through, thus concealing it after it has been defiled by use. The ewer has a long spout, and a long, narrow neck, with a cover, and is altogether not unlike our coffee-pots in general appearance: it is the same which the Orientals use in all their ablutions. It is evident that a person cannot conveniently thus wash his own hands without assistance. If he does, he is obliged to fix the basin, and to take up and lay down the ewer several times, changing it from one hand to the other. Therefore a person never does so except when alone. If he has no servant, he asks some bystander to pour the water upon his hands, and offers a return of the obligation, if it seems to be required (Kitto, Pict. Bible, note ad loc.). SEE WASHING OF HANDS.